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Illinois Utility Watchdog Advocate

Posted on: March 17, 2023

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Job Description

Despite taking major steps to address the climate crisis, Illinois public policy has incentivized billions of dollars of wasteful gas utility spending over the last decade. The most prominent example is the Peoples Gas pipe replacement program in Chicago, an $11 billion project that is making home heating increasingly unaffordable for a broad swath of Chicago residents, failing to effectively address safety risks in the Peoples Gas system, and is increasingly at odds with Chicago’s climate goals, such as moving 30% of residential buildings off the gas system by 2035.

As our Gas Utility Watchdog Advocate, you’ll work with Illinois PIRG Director Abe Scarr to rein in wasteful gas utility spending. This position requires exercising discretion and independent judgment in making decisions in matters of significance. Our top priorities are to:

-End the state “QIP” law rewarding wasteful utility spending with record profits
-Overhaul the Peoples Gas pipe replacement program to focus on specific safety risks, not an unnecessary full-system overhaul
-Push back against utility schemes to promote “renewable natural gas”
-Initiate a state proceeding to evaluate the future of the gas system as the state transitions to clean energy
-Support building electrification policies in Chicago and statewide

Illinois PIRG stands up to powerful interests whenever they threaten our health and safety, our financial security or our right to fully participate in our democratic society. Over the last 10 years we have:

-Built a coalition of dozens of groups to end the gas utility “QIP” surcharge, elevated the issue through hundreds of media stories, and won the support of Governor Pritzker, Mayor Lightfoot, and the Chicago City Council
-Blocked legislation proposed by ComEd that would have changed utility billing in a manner that would harm consumers and hold back rooftop solar
-Helped pass numerous consumer protection laws, including a 36% rate cap on consumer loans, new protections for student loan borrowers, and to stop the worst abuses in the competitive energy supply market
-Led the coalition campaign to pass Automatic Voter Registration with bipartisan support


Coalition building: Build support around our campaigns in key constituencies at the state and local level
Advocacy: Take our policies directly to key decision-makers in Springfield, in Chicago, or wherever important decisions are being made.
Program Development and Strategy: Evaluate the issues, create viable policy solutions and propose the right political strategy and messaging.
Communications: Work to develop messaging and materials for decision makers, the public, and the media to help advance our campaigns, including opinion editorials, press releases, letters to the editor, action campaign emails, fact sheets, bill summaries and policy briefs, regulatory comments, analyses, and presentations.
Fundraising: Write grant proposals, build relationships with foundation staff and meet with major donors.

Candidates must have at least 3 years of relevant professional experience. Qualified candidates will have a demonstrated commitment to citizen-based social change, as well as a track record of leadership. Experience working on utility, consumer protection or clean energy campaigns preferred. We’re looking for people who are goal-driven and results-oriented, who have excellent verbal, written and analytical skills, the ability to speak persuasively in a charged atmosphere, and driven to make positive policy change.

Why work for Illinois PIRG? Here are ten reasons:

Illinois PIRG is part of The Public Interest Network, which operates and supports organizations committed to a shared vision of a better world and a strategic approach to social change. You can learn more about our core values at

Illinois PIRG is an equal opportunity employer.

COVID-19: We take COVID-19 safety very seriously. Employees must follow our COVID safety protocols and be fully vaccinated and boostered. Accommodations are provided to the extent required by law.


Chicago, IL



Job category

Employment type
Full Time

3+ years

$32,000 – $40,000
Illinois PIRG offers a competitive benefits package. We also offer an excellent training program and opportunities for advancement.

Start date
This position starts immediately. Please apply at your earliest convenience.